Outside for the annual barbecues and cookouts, I contemplate over America, taking in the good and the bad. I am hard on America as of late because I know that she could do better.
Living in Panama 9 years ago let me better understand what it was about America and Americans that I took for granted.
The missus, after breaking her ankle and without viable medical care nearby, cried "uncle" in regards to the hairbrained scheme that we were sucked into by the "international living"community. It did not turn out to be the "custard" we were hoping for. It was time to return stateside. On the way back, 300-400 miles from our palace near the Costa Rican border to the Panama City airport, we stopped at a smorgasbord type restaurant on the way. We walked through to see what looked good. We saw what looked like worms on a tray. I asked in broken Spanish what were they? The server said, French Fries. This did not look like any French Fries that I have ever seen. The missus inquired further and the server said that they have been sitting there for 5 days. She, in disgust, wanted to go and try another similar restaurant that we could catch off from the road. Well, we did and we saw the same thing, she asked the same question. There was some improvement as their Fries were out for only 4 days.
It dawned upon me the thing I missed about America. The sense of competition, even amongst our most mundane of food food outlets, to be the freshest, cleanest and fastest. In the quest for ever improving customer service, the "take it or leave it" attitude that was part of that culture would never do.
While living near Las Tablas, initially, we found this indigenous man being treated as a "gopher" for every merchant and customer over several small restaurants grouped together. The Missus asked who is this man and why is he being run ragged? An English speaking expat told us that indigenous people "Indians" were on the low end of "social economic" totem pole. We said that that was not right, a level of dignity belongs to everyone. The Missus created a "scene" on this man's behalf in the restaurant where we were dining at the time that would have brought the house down.
Social hierarchies are static and people accept things as they are, another example of "take it or leave it". I did not want to get involved, but compared to her totally egalitarian and leftist views, I am Rush Limbaugh.
The point is that, that despite our difficulties, I hope that that drive to recognize the need to improve and to constantly drive toward that end, which I think has been a key to America's success, can be concepts that have not really gone away, but just under a strain in this current time. My expectations as to the rate of progress may be unrealistic, but I have been here long enough to know that we could always do what it is thatwe really wanted to do badly enough.
I spite of our faults, I was glad to return home. Something to think about while being overwhelmed with "baby backs" and beer.
Happy 4th to you all....
I can see that "Rush Limbaugh" comparison.
Over the years I remember a few times we have found cracks in your outer crust, (after long contemplations). As I think about it, if not for your current eagerness to wield the Democrat blade in battle, your Progressive card might be in danger.
Happy 4th bud.
There are areas where I could be seen as somewhat more conservative than in others, but not many. But, I am light years distant from the opinions of most of the "Right " as made evident in the forums .Yet the Missus could easily qualify as a socialist and that is not me.
Wonderful sentiment. Thanks for sharing a bit of you...
Happy 4th of July!
Well said. Perhaps more of us should travel a bit and gain a better understanding of what we have and how we compare to other nations.
This is an interesting story, touching on a lot of social issues, structures, and the way the world works in different countries.
I think it's very healthy to be critical of your own country. Because only by discussion and sharing power a country can grow.
Spain, the country where I live in had for a long time a two-party system like the US. (the UK faces the same problem in lesser extent.)
Spain did not move forward as it had the same attitude as the US, constantly breaking down the policies of the former government, not because they were bad, but simply because the other party had made them.
This simplistic way of doing politics ruins a country. As politics tend to go extreme.
To me having judges appointed by politics is asking for corruption and eroding the laws. It's like Franco (former dictator of Spain) pointing the judges. Judges should be appointed by other judges and have no religious or political affiliation imo.
I find it sad to see the US in this state of polarization. You are either for me or against me politics. It simply does not work and the result is that the red states become redder and the blue states bluer. Dividing the country effectively in two countries. The abortion issue is perhaps the clearest and sad visualization of the state of being of the US.
It's sad as the US had so much potential, but adapting to aggressive capitalism in the '80 it shaped the power structures where politics is now dominated by religion and big corp.
I hope you all stay critical of the people in power and critical of the party you voted for.
And also enjoy the little things in life that are not political-related..
Thanks, Stephen, no one can improve if one is not aware of shortcomings.
Partisanship has reach extremes here that I have not seen ever before within my lifetime.
What we celebrate is the referee, the Constitution, that until now has allowed us to find compromise from among disparate points of view and allows for the peaceful transfer of power. We celebrate a citizenry that abides by the system and accept the concept of winner and loser in a fairly played game. We have been able to do this for almost 250 years and it has survived over every manner of crisis that time and circumstances could offer, until now.
There has been the danger of politically motivated judiciary which I have always seen as providing the system with the needed objective oversight. The institution (Supreme Court) is losing credibility as they are seen as just extensions of political hacks within the other 2 branches of our government.
We, in America, do not swoon over tyrants or be led to dismiss our rule of law over the adulation for any one person. Or, at least, we haven't, until now. Our survival will hinge on our ability to vanquish undemocratic leanings and attitudes within our society as future July 4ths may well depend upon it.
As such, I continue to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable within this current system.
Thank you for your insight and Viva Espana....
Happy 4th Cred!!!
Having read this OP some days ago I was reluctant to reply as it caused a lot of pondering with the personal truths you revealed to us. I truly appreciate what you shared, Cred. For me it is these little life experiences I read here at HP through articles and here in the forums that I gain a new perspective realizing each has a unique and personal experience where we perhaps try to pigeon hole our beliefs into a prescribed belief system laid out by some such authority like a religion, political party, or simply a social network of coworkers or friends while cannot exclude family too.
As an observer of the adventure shared in the OP I can relate easily just from visits here in my town going only four miles from the east side to the west side where contrast of lifestyle is a known. And, social differences too, though dress and general life attitudes are near the same. One side politically more left and the other more right seemingly at its core is the difference of economic realities or poorer vs. richer, though those are relative in my view.
One thing I find interesting is the plight of the homeless migrating from one side of town to the other as they are moved by the authorities to clean up the neighborhood area near the central places of business where pan handling is prominent. The characters are the same it is the environment that changes.
And, they care not what religion they belong to or political party. There interest is survival, which usually tends to give me motivation to say to self, "Thank you, Lord" as I drive to my modest mobile home where I live as a king in my own kingdom free to do as I please with Liberty because this great nation of ours allows for that. The only fear I have is that of an old guy growing older ha-ha
As for tomorrow, the 4th, it will be at a brother's lakeside home with all my brothers and sisters and most of the kids. It is Trump land where the banners will be raised in pride next to the American flags while the men will be wearing swim shorts of the red, white, and blue. There will be a bike parade at 9am, at the camp grounds less than a block away will be games like Cornhole and brews raised with smiles, as children frolic while laughing, and the day ends with a glorious fireworks show of celebration of this nation's beginning some time ago.
Yes, tomorrow, the 4th, for some has become just another day off while others it strikes the heart of appreciation of our nation's long history through an experiment in democracy of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" governed "Of the people, by the people, for the people".
Enough wandering . . .
Nice to hear from you, Tsmog.
I will have to acknowledge that our points of view are shaped by our lives and the relative experiences from that.
The ultimate conflict within this society, the planet and probably the universe is the issue of have verses have not. That is always is going to be with us, yet it should not be the primary determinant of the fate of people, their rights and privileges or their basic quality of life. That is the America that I saw and revered in its attempt to address some of these things.
As the years pass and you are reminded that there are fewer days ahead than behind, the simple pleasures come to focus and mean so much more. So much of the globe cannot even appreciate that, wars, famine, pestilence, etc. I cling to that adage of "everything in moderation".
In my retirement, these are the best of times. When you were a kid, there were your parents that told you what to do. I replaced my parents with an employment time clock as an adult. Now, I do as a like with no one telling me that I am up past my bedtime. I tell my wife that retirement is a three-legged stool composed of my free time, my health and my money. Any one of those legs that go missing means there is no place to sit. I go into that lecture with her whenever she wants me to cut the lawn, but to no avail.
These days, to just climb out of bed in the morning is a blessing, so I don't press my luck.
Again, a happy 4th to you and yours....
I read the news today oh boy!
All my thoughts on the victims of the 4th of july parade in Chicago.
And the stupidity of legalizing weapons in a city.
This man should be convicted of terrorism as it is nothing less.
My condolences go out to the victims of the July 4th Chicago parade shooting.
Chicago is a city that has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire country.
It's more proof that gun laws don't work and only punish the law abiding.
Nope, you need strict gun laws nationwide. If you can buy a gun in Alabama and drive to Chicago, the strict laws in Chicago won't mean a thing.
Unfortunately, that theory doesn't really stand up.
Over 92 percent of all gun crimes in the United States are done with guns that were obtained illegally. There are no laws that can prevent criminals from illegally obtaining guns and committing crimes.
That is absolute proof that gun laws don't work and only punish the law abiding.
In the United States, you still have a right to self-protection.
Yes, every country has criminals. But you should not make it so easy for them.
Hard-core criminals will always have guns. But it is the petty thieves the wannabee criminals, frustrated people and adolescents who love to play Fortnite in real life that needs to be prevented from getting excess to guns.
Making guns illegal in the whole country seems to me the easiest way to lower gun crimes. (or at least illegal in towns and cities with more than 20.000 inhabitants.)
Just my simple opinion for what it is worth, I understand this is a very complex problem embedded in the American psyche and difficult for me to grasp.
I hope you guys will find a solution.
It is a sense of the open frontier, the image of the "Marlboro Man" "Marlboro cigarettes advertisements when I was a kid. That roving cowboy that is a little part of all of us. Canada is next door and in its assumption of a large part of North America, never presented that persona. The idea that you had unlimited options, you were independent, did what you wanted on your own terms and "your world" responded favorably to that attitude. But in reality, it has been a fantasy.
I find it "adolescent" to cling to a gun as a sense of power. But, again, that is just me. The truly courageous people resolve conflicts with hearts and minds.
The Democratic city breeds its own murders, no need to bring Alabama into the equation or any other state. This past weekend in Chicago 55 was shot. This goes on most weekends.
52 shot in New York over the weekend.
These cities have very liberal law enforcement, it invites crime.
They also have very strict gun laws.
You don't see this happening throughout America, the majority of the states do not have a problem with people being shot, period.
Sharlee, of course you are not going have death tolls like this in "Mayberry". Where ther ever a major metrolis in America that do not have stats like this. So, it is not about being "liberal", it is the simple fact that there is always more trouble in urban areas than rural simply because there are more people.
Population and population density is the real difference why Laramie is not Los Angeles.
I would assume we could go by shootings per capita in any given state. I feel assured none would come close to Chicago or New York. The population does naturally come into play, and so do the ideologies of the governments that run these cities.
We have large cities all over the world, MOST do not share the murder rates of our large cities. In my view, America has a huge problem with the breakdown of law enforcement. The criminal is running the streets, and we as a society have ignored our mentally ill.
We have a breakdown in values and are suffering from our own ignorance. We have a government that is failing, and many don't seem to care, or even note the problem of where we have ended up.
It would be more accurate to match urban area with urban area, Dallas, vs New York or Miami. All major cities are managed by Democrats with virtually no exception. So, we need to compare apples with apples. The ideologies have nothing to do with it. Show me any top populated American city (20) run by a Republican mayor, if one can be found, that have exceptionally low crime stars?
You could never convince me that ideologies are not the biggest problem with the crime rate. I truely feel that liberal cities do not deal with the problems that foment crime, from the problems of children not growing up with fathers in the home, doing much of nothing about crime, drugs and generally don't deal with the problems of the mentally ill.
Yes, bigger cities have problems due to increased population, but they also have more funds than smaller cities.
In my travels, I have found many wonderful large cities that do not have the problems we have in the US. One must ask why? I say Ideologies.
In the US our larger cities' Governments have failed them as a rule.
It's interesting that if we look around the world in terms of safest countries we see that they are governed in a much more progressive, "liberal" even Democratic socialist manner than any City in our country. The safest countries being New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada and Portugal, Finland, Norway and so on.
If you look at some of the ideologies that govern these countries there wouldn't be a snowballs chance in hell that they'd ever go over in our country. But it seems like we would rather repetitively do the same thing over and over in this country expecting a different result somehow. I mean if these problems are fixed, what do politicians have to run on?
Good morning all. While I am a Liberal, I believe that there must be tougher measures taken against crime. Almost every day, I read about crime in the subways & on the streets. There was a 15 year old who was shot. Another who was a victim of the knockout game. This is in New York. In Los Angeles, wealthier people are being targeted for their jewelry-they are being followed home & robbed.
There need to be tougher measures taken against crime. There need to be harsher penalties for such crimes. Eric Adams is a joke. Giuliani was a far more effective mayor than Adams. Adams is a no show. What good is he really?
I just picked Alabama randomly Sharlee, to show that you can buy a weapon in one state and bring it to another. Hence if you make a gun law it should be everywhere the same.
All states in the US sell guns, although gun laws can vary from state to state. I agree all gun laws should be the same across America. It would be a start, but here in America, we tend to ignore problems like mental illness, and our laws have become very lacks. Our values have eroded, in a portion of our society. I don't think there is much at this point we can do about any of the above problems. We are a split society, and this is just a fact.
I realize this is a blunt rather unattractive description of what we deal with in America, However, right now this is my view of where we are. We still have many citizens that note our problems and have confidence we can get back on a better road.
We are a work in progress that went amuck. We are a strong Nation, and I have great faith in its people.
I guess we always generalize when we talk about politics and countries, certainly on Social Media and a forum like this.
I always try to avoid thinking that the politics of a country is not the same as the people living in a country.
Politics have an agenda of their own (often for their own).. people just try to make the best of their lives.
Yes the US is becoming two countries. This though is I think a worldwide phenomenon. Bigger countries splitting up. The former USSR is now divided into separate countries. Scotland in the UK wants to separate, here Catalonia (Barcelona and province) also wants to be free from the rest of Spain.
Perhaps it's a trend. Strangely enough on the other hand the world is getting more interconnected through the internet.
I don't know what the future will bring. But it saddens me to see how politics is keeping itself busy with internal conflicts and wars when the biggest and most dangerous challenge the climate crisis is not taken seriously (or perhaps more to the truth, the problem is so big and worldwide that politicians have no idea how to handle it. It's simply out of their league.)
I must say, I respect your view. It would be hard to argue it.
"the climate crisis"
This has become just another political issue with most countries around the world.
Climate Crisis is a fact Readmikenow.
And it is not just another issue. It is the most important issue right now.
What to do about it and how to solve it on these people have different opinions.
How it is being handled by the world has made it a political issue.
What is this "We" stuff?
China, India and others make agreements and then break them moments after their agreement are signed.
Most of the countries of the world are only out for themselves.
It is proof that trafficking in illegal firearms can and do render the strictest of gun control useless.
Just as futile as we going to make it to prevent women from choosing an abortion if she so desires.
Yes, a rather misbegotten sort of fellow as the assailant is shown in the photo. Chicago's problem is that many illegal weapons are obtained from neighboring Indiana.
Tragedy upon tragedy, it appears without end here in these times.
"Chicago's problem is that many illegal weapons are obtained from neighboring Indiana."
Really? Then why doesn't Indiana have the same type of high levels of gun crime that is unique to Chicago?
That is just Chicago propaganda for not taking responsibility for their failing legal system. Defunding the police and having prosecutors who let many criminals walk and don't enforce Chicago's gun laws are Chicago's major problem with gun crime.
It's time Chicago own its problems and not blame others.
Chicago wasn't always like this.
Alright, Mike what large major city does not have problems similar to that in Chicago? This issue is not unique to Chicago. You want to be taken seriously, compare Indianapolis to Chicago and again you are dealing with one city considerably smaller than the other. This shooter is just another of those rightwing Trumper gun nuts, not the run of the mill gang banger that conservatives love to point to. Picking off people at random from roof tops is not their MO.
You can't compare the state of Indiana to the city of Chicago. You said that most of the guns used in crime are obtained illegally, do you think that the criminals using them just manufactured them there or are they acquiring them from some other source?
Chicago has always been a rough town going back to Capone and Bugs Moran into the 1920s. So when it wasn't like this, you would have to go back considerably further into the past.
What evidence that you have that it the legal system in Chicago responsible over the simple availability of so many firearms?
It isn't the availability of so many firearms; it is how they are used. We ALL know this, yet we are now seeing areas that reduce gun ownership as much as possible and then, when the results were not what they wanted (no one can reasonably expect that a law against gun ownership will keep criminals from getting one) whine that it is the fault of another state.
Mostly the guns come acquire them from another source. A legal owner, the scene of a crime, imported, whatever. However, we're seeing more and more "ghost guns" "manufactured" right in someone's basement. We may have to ban 3D printers, too, in a futile effort to stop violence from happening.
The fourth of July is special. We have many members of my family who have emigrated here from the Ukraine and are now US citizens.
After visiting the Ukraine, I am always glad to return to the United States. I know I am Ukrainian by genetics, but I am an American.
Nothing made me appreciate being an American more than when I visited the Ukraine during the 1970s. It was the USSR then. I could tell many stories about it. One that sticks in my mind was that food was delivered to stores by the soviet government. The shop owners and high-ranking members of the communist party would get what they wanted from the deliveries before anything was put on the store shelves. What was put on the store shelves wasn't much or the best and was gone soon after it was put out. If you wanted to purchase a good cut of meat, you had to meet with a member of the communist party and negotiate a price for the meat. This usually included Vodka, cigarettes, chocolates and more. It was how business was conducted. This is how people got most of their consumer goods.
I didn't speak Russian; all Ukrainians did at that time. A police officer asked me something when I was waiting outside a store. I didn't completely understand him. I tried to speak to him in Ukrainian. My uncle saw what was happening and came to my rescue. The policeman said I had broken the law by speaking Ukrainian to a public official. There was no such law. In order to avoid jail, my uncle had to pay the policeman a "fine." I had to be careful and not tell anyone I was an American. It would have caused me more trouble.
In the late 90s and early 2000s, Ukraine was such a nice country. It had coffee shops, beautiful cities and a road system that needed work, but enabled lots of travel. People could afford things and the soviet-style policing was gone.
Now, of course, Ukrainians are fighting to keep their country. Like the founding fathers of the United States, they are determined. To know how beautiful Ukraine was before the invasion and to see it now is a heart break.
I am proud to be an American. I've been to many countries and ALL of them have things in their history they don't like to discuss.
America is still the best place in the world for legal immigrants to come, it has the best opportunities and the most freedom. If you doubt me, you need so visit some other countries.
God Bless America!
Thanks for your input, Mike
Despite our disparate political views, we can agree on and have a drink to propose a toast over a shared objective:
God Bless America!
I've been in South American countries and spent some time with a friend in the Dominican Republic. When you went to the bank there, you would sit on a bench and wait for people to deposit money, so the bank would have enough money to cash your check.
They had rolling black outs almost daily. If you took a bus, you could be sitting next to a chicken, etc. I had a bank mail me a check when I was in the Dominican Republic, and the only thing that got delivered to me was the envelope. I asked my friend if I should contact the police and she started laughing. It's a different world.
You know, Mike, that reminds me about another thing that "pissed" me off about the culture.
I more than endeared myself to a bank in Las Tablas, Panama. I was at the teller to receive $400.00 cash. She just put it in an envelope and gave it to me. I told her to remove it from the envelope and count it before me, so that we can both agree to the content and that the amount was accurate. She probably mumbled "gringo" under her breath while she got the manager. I told the manager that it is slovenly practice to not count out money given to customers as that placed the risk of your inaccuracy upon me. Since, I was certain that you were not going to make a mistake to my benefit. They did as I requested, grudgingly.
The moral of the story is: Don't get funny with my money.
Happy 4th, aka: Happy Independence Day, everyone!
There will always be political differences, but the fact that we can all take comfort in having this place to come home to, after traveling abroad, speaks volumes.
God Bless America!!
Looking at the most recent CDC statistics on firearm mortality rates per capita by state we see that Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming, Missouri , Alabama and Alaska are at the top of the list.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosm … irearm.htm
Looking at the most recent CDC statistics on firearm mortality rates per capita by state we see that Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming, Missouri , Alabama and Alaska are at the top of the list.
The top states by gun death rates are:
Mississippi -- 28.6.
Louisiana -- 26.3.
Wyoming -- 25.9.
Missouri -- 23.9.
Alabama -- 23.6.
Alaska -- 23.5.
What do they have in common?
The states with the highest gun death rates are among the ones with the highest gun ownership rates.
https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosm … irearm.htm
Correlation does not imply causation.
I live in an area with a lot of violence and murder. Therefore I went out and bought a gun so that I could protect my family.
Yes, higher levels of gun ownership are correlated with violence. That does not imply that the average gun owner is out there committing that violence.
We have 81.4 million guns in the US that are registered. Gun's in the wrong hands kill people. As you can see by the number of registered guns, a great majority are responsible gun owners. I very much agree with your sentiment.
So you are essentially concluding that the states that I listed must have the highest crime in the United States? Therefore the reason for more guns in those areas??
I fully understand the concept of statistical correlation. I simply stated the statistics. I think they speak well for themselves.
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